I haven’t needed to respond to NYT silliness that was this piece: Is Algebra Really Necessary?
simply because it struck me as a typical NYT puff stuff. Really? Is Algebra necessary? Based on the idea, mostly, that since American students aren’t doing very well in it, we should stop teaching it. Oookkkaaaaay.
But fortunately, if you are a bad, slothful blogger, somebody does the hard work for you:
Hacker blames math for all manner of bad cess, referring to it as “tak[ing] a toll” and marshalling failure rates as if they were proof that math is inherently evil, or at least carcinogenic for all but the 99th percentile. (And I won’t beat on my favorite drum, except to point out that he wants to reserve actual mathematics, as opposed to arithmetic, for the very highest achievers only. Let that sink in a minute.)
This is rather my point about all education of all types. By all means, find ways to make math more fun to learn. I’m all for it. But leaving it out for everybody but the elite? No. Not math, not language, not history, not literature, not anything. If you say that the educated are an unworthy elite, you by definition mean that only elite people get to enjoy knowledge. Poverty is bad enough without being told you don’t get to reflect on the whole of human experience, either, lest you become the enemy.